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Don’t Be A Frog In A Pot — Unsubscribe Regularly

How To Unsubscribe Email Pic
Photo: Johaval/

Sixteen days of bliss.

(That’s how I’d describe my summer holiday break.)

One luxury tent. A long peaceful beach. No smart phone. No Internet.

Just myself, my partner and 6 glorious books (that’s right… I even ditched my Kindle for a bunch of old-fashioned paperbacks!)

I felt relaxed, refreshed and Zen calm. Then I did something foolish… I turned on my phone and checked my email.

There’s a medical term for scuba divers who emerge too quickly from a deep-sea dive – it’s called the bends. Symptoms of re-surfacing too fast include headaches, confusion and unexplained mood changes. Hmmm.

The interesting part of re-entering digital life after an extended break was that I could see my email from a different perspective. I expected an onslaught of work-related emails and Cc wars (and wasn’t disappointed). Yet to my surprise, I also found my inbox scattered with more than 130 advertising-related messages, none of which added true value or meaning to my life.

That’s when I realised just how much low-value junk I get each day, without even knowing it.

Frog In A Pot

You’ve probably heard of what happens when a frog is slowly heated in water. It doesn’t realise what’s happening and gets cooked to death.

Email is obviously less gruesome, yet sometimes you and I just don’t notice when things build up slowly.

Throughout the course of our online lives there are many opportunities for organisations, marketers and bloggers to add our email address to their mailing list, only to inundate us with sales promotions or special offers over time.

I for one am very selective with what I will and will not subscribe to. However like the frog in a low simmering pot, it’s easy to build up email volume over time, without noticing.

What then, is the best way to eliminate these nasty email critters? Just unsubscribe!

Benefits of Unsubscribing

Unsubscribing is a fantastic way to save you time and money.

Fewer emails received each day can lessen the time it takes to process your inbox to zero. With fewer marketing emails there’s less temptation to rush out and spend your hard earned cash. And while the average person unlocks their phone 150 times a day, often for no reason,[1] it’s worth reducing this temptation by diminishing emails (and notifications) that create dependency.

So where do you start? Take our unsubscribe challenge today!

Scan through your old emails and identify and unsubscribe from your five least valuable newsletters or subscriptions.

It’ll only take you a few minutes to do, yet over time you’ll save time.

How Do I Unsubscribe From Emails?

Not sure how to unsubscribe?

Here are a few options for how to tackle different types of email subscriptions — including internal workplace mailing lists, such as ‘globals’, that you can’t directly unsubscribe from.

Option 1 – Unsubscribe From The Email Itself Using A Hyperlink

The first option is to unsubscribe using a pre-existing hyperlink from the email itself. This is the most common and effective way to unsubscribe from marketing-based emails.

Hidden at the bottom of the email, generally in tiny text, is often a link to unsubscribe from the list. It tends to look something like this:

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The hyperlink will either direct you to a webpage (where you can click to confirm your intention to unsubscribe) or a login page (where you can sign in to confirm your identity before unsubscribing).

Either way, for emails that add little value, these few clicks to unsubscribe are worth the effort.

Option 2: Create A Rule For Emails With No Unsubscribe Option

The second option is helpful to tackle low-value internal workplace emails that you can’t unsubscribe from (think global internal emails or committee mail messages).

These might be emails that you may wish to either a) archive without reading, b) scan and read as a batch, at a later date, or c) automatically delete and avoid altogether.

This is one specific circumstance where rules come in handy.

You’ll need to start by creating a new folder, with a relevant name (in our example we call it “Global”, but “Subscriptions” or “Internal Junk” can work too.) Then create a rule to automatically divert these emails from your inbox, into the new folder.

Here’s how you do this in Microsoft Outlook 2010:

To create a new folder:

Step 1: Right mouse click on Inbox, then left mouse click on New Folder.

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Step 2: A dialog box will open with the title Create New Folder. Type Global into the Name field then click OK.

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Your folder should now appear in your folder list in the left hand window, enabling you to create your rule.

 To create a rule to automatically move your emails to your new folder:

Step 1: Click on an email to which you would like this rule to apply.

Step 2: From the Home menu on the ribbon select Rules and then Create Rule.

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Step 3: A dialog box will open with the title Create Rule.

Left click the tick boxes next to either From or Subject contains (depending on the most appropriate) and Move the item to folder. Then click Select Folder and choose Global. Click OK.

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Step 4: Tick the check box for Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder and click OK.

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Take Up The Unsubscribe Challenge Today

Sick of receiving junk emails each day?

If so, be intentional and make space by spending 10-20 minutes unsubscribing from the 5 worst offending sites.

P.S. If you haven’t already turned off email notifications from your desktop and smart phones, then we encourage you to do so. Here’s how: Get Rid Of Email Alerts On Your iPhone and iPad Forever.

P.P.S. Want more practical tips like these… then subscribe to our monthly newsletter (not joking… we’ll actually help you make space rather than create more clutter!)

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1.  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s annual Internet Trends report, cited by abc news report: “Cellphone Users Check Phones 150x/Day and Other Internet Fun Facts” in 2013.

2 comment

  1. I started using an app/account called Unroll Me ( highly recommend to use for this sort of thing – makes it really easy to continue to unsubscribe as time goes on as it prompts you every time you receive an email from someone new as to whether you would like to unsubscribe or “roll-up” to be reviewed when you want to or have the time to. Much less distracting not having those little red numbers of unread emails on your phone or computer screen all the time!

    1. Great find Emma… I just watched the video and this sounds like a helpful app. For those interested, Unroll Me makes it easier to reduce clutter by rolling up selected emails into a daily digest (therefore avoiding the inbox each day). While you’re not technically unsubscribing, it enables you to avoid the inbox barrage — so you can review advertising emails/blog posts/other newsletters in your own time. Worth a look…

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